THE ORIGINS OF FORTISSIO LUNGO COFFEE: MASTERING MONSOONING

To create the intriguing taste of our Fortissio Lungo blend, coffee beans are exposed to India’s rainy Malabar Coast.

Winds, heavy with rain, sweep through the open sides of a warehouse on India’s Malabar Coast, dousing the delicate Arabica coffee beans carefully raked across the floor. But there are no frantic attempts to prevent the unruly skies from spoiling the precious harvest — these are the precise weather conditions, mimicking historic sea voyages, that give our Fortissio Lungo coffee its celebrated taste.

In the 18th century, the distinct flavour of West Indian coffee developed by chance while it was being transported to Europe in wooden-hulled sailing ships. During the long voyage, the sea air and monsoon winds changed the structure of the coffee beans.

Espresso coffee cups

The distinct flavour of West Indian coffee developed by chance while it was being transported to Europe in wooden-hulled ships

Not only did they change in colour from blue-gray to a creamy yellow, the beans also doubled in size and lost their acidity. Their resulting intense character and aromatic profile, quite different from coffee beans that remained in the country, became the norm in Europe for Indian coffee.

The distinct flavour of West Indian coffee developed by chance while it was being transported to Europe in wooden-hulled sailing ships in the 18th century.

With the arrival of modern steam ships, and the opening of the Suez Canal, the six-month sea journey eventually shrank to just three weeks, decreasing the time beans were exposed to the surprisingly ideal conditions. Later, in the 1930s, European buyers noticed that the coffee no longer retained its distinguished taste, so the rainy conditions were recreated in a process intended to conserve the beloved flavour.

Known as monsooning (or Monsoon Malabar), we’ve chosen to use this technique for Fortissio Lungo coffee to temper the acidity and increase body so that it impresses more strongly on the palate.


Our West Indian Malabar Arabica beans are harvested from plantations in Karnataka, in southwest India, then taken to the city of Mangalore where they are stored for the monsoon season, which lasts from June to September. There, batches of dried beans are thinly spread across the floors of special warehouses, the sides of which are open to nature’s elements. To ensure that the moisture absorption is even, beans are spread and raked (known as “garbling”) in regular intervals on alternate days. Having been hulled at the farms, the beans are at their most vulnerable to the environment and it’s not long before they swell in size and turn light yellow.

“Twice a year, we meet with our suppliers either in Switzerland or India to align on the quality and follow every year’s crop and how it is progressing in monsooning,” said Alexis Rodriguez, Nespresso’s Head of Coffee Development.

FORTISSIO LUNGO

Rich & Full-bodied

Not only does monsooning mellow the Indian beans’ acidity, but it gives syrupy, wooded hints to the intense flavour. Exposure to the wild weather also results in a fuller body. Beans are then blended with two washed Colombian Arabicas, which add structure and roundness, as well as subtle fruity notes.

The result is our Fortissio Lungo coffee, an unforgettably rich coffee with an equally rich past.


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Coffee Process India Coffee Aroma Harvesting
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